View-Worthy: 11.21.14

Preview

Profanity, Hypocrisy, Crumbling World, Doctor Who.

Headliner

Mark Bauerlein. In A Tight Place with Profanity. (First Things)

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do, and sometimes it isn’t. The other night I had a flight to Atlanta and was lucky to get upgraded to business class. It was late, I was tired, and lights were low. People were reading, checking their phones, watching their tablets. I leaned back and drifted into half-slumber until a voice exclaimed, “Oh man, that’s f _ _ _ in’ awesome.”

Deal of the Day

Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Kostenberger, Bock, Chatraw $3.99

Book Review

Dai Hankey. A Man’s Greatest Challenge. Reviewed by Tim Challies.

Links

Mike Leake. Preaching and Hypocrisy.

One of the most difficult things about preaching through Scripture one book at a time is that inevitably I’ll be encouraging people to be obedient in an area where I myself am not. That is the nature of preaching. We are almost always preaching above our heads.

There are times when I step into the pulpit feeling like a terrible hypocrite. The text before me is one that encourages unity and forgiveness within the body of Christ and I’m struggling hardcore to forgive a guy in the church that has wounded me.

I’ve watched as other ministers have dropped out of ministry because of the weight of feeling like a hypocrite. And I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that in darker moments I’ve entertained the thought of joining them. But at the end of the day I’m not confident that the accusation of hypocrisy stands. Nor do I believe that preaching on that which I have yet to attain myself disqualifies from ministry.

Mark Altrogge. How To Live in a World That’s Shaking, Cracking, and Crumbling.

Do you ever feel like the world is cracking and beginning to crumble?  ISIS, Ebola, changing sexual morals, disintegrating families, escalating crime, drugs, suicides….I don’t need to elaborate.  The world is shaking.  It’s passing away.  But believers in Jesus need not fear or be depressed, for God has given us an unshakeable kingdom.

E. Stephen Burnett. Doctor Who’s Doctrine: Heroes Can Be Idiots Because Love Is A Promise. (CaPC)

If you’re a Christian who wants to see popular culture in light of Scripture, you have at least considered the idea of viewing fantastical heroes as Christ-figures. After all, if a decent hero such as The Doctor of Doctor Who respects life, shows love, and sacrifices himself to save the world, doesn’t that imitate the original Hero? Shouldn’t we laud that reflection of Jesus?

But this gets more complicated when the hero does not behave like a Christ-figure should.

Edify

Revelation 2:16 “Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.”

“Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides.” Charles Spurgeon

10 Quotes from Real Christian by Todd Wilson

RealChristianThis week I’ve really enjoyed spending time with Todd Wilson’s new book Real Christian. In my opinion, it may be one of the most practical books for every believer to read. There are not a lot of books on personal spiritual living that I recommend these days, outside of some of the classics. This one is the one that I’m recommending to my friends and family this coming 2015 year. If I was a youth pastor right now, I’d give it to high school graduates.

Todd Wilson is the pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois, cofounder and chair of The Center for Pastor-Theologians, and a PhD graduate of Cambridge.

This simple book follows the structure of Jonathan Edward’s classic treatise, Religious Affections. Wilson simplifies Edward’s traits of those who have religious affections for the Lord by explaining six marks of real Christians: humility, meekness, contrition, wholeness, hunger, and love. This is meant to aid each person to diagnose whether they are a real Christian.

Here are ten quotes from this outstanding book:

1. “Real is something you can see. There is a visible difference between real and not-real Christians. It’s not enough to say you’re real; you should be able to see you’re real” (19).

2. “A transformed heart is what gives rise to all the marks of real — from humility to hunger. And nothing else but a new heart can do this” (35).

3. “Real Christians are a different kind of creature, set apart from all other human beings. The difference is one of kind, not simply of degree” (44).

4. “The purpose of humility isn’t to make you think less of who you are, but to enable you to love others regardless of who they are” (58).

5. “No one endured greater injury than Jesus. Yet no one exhibited greater meekness than him” (85).

6. “Thus, contrition mirrors the paradox of the gospel as a paradoxical emotion — a pleasing pain, a glad grief, a beautiful brokenness, a weeping over who you are, even as you rejoice over who Christ is for you” (95).

7. “Real Christians are whole people who bear Christ’s full image. Their lives are morally and spiritually symmetrical” (121).

8. “Real hunger; the kind we see in Jesus, is hunger to do God’s will, which means a hunger for holiness” (134).

9. “We see him as lovely, and therefore love him. This is the foundation of genuine love for God — to love God for no other reason than because God is lovely” (153).

10. “This is the key to enjoying eternal security — entrust yourself to God. For he will preserve you and bring you safely to your heavenly home” (179).

View-Worthy: 11.20.14

Preview

Scripture Alone, Lifelong Learner, Face to Face Meetings, Planting in Highly-Churched Areas.

Headliner

Gerald R. McDermott. Why You Can’t Read Scripture Alone. (CT)

Some Christians, and not just new believers among them, take this “me and God” approach to reading Scripture. They have learned from Matthew 15 not to be like the Pharisees, whom Jesus said exalted human tradition over God’s Word. They also try to heed Paul’s warning not to succumb to “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition” (Col. 2:8, ESV used throughout). They have concluded, therefore, that Scripture teaches that church tradition—and all the perspectives and human-derived interpretations that it carries with it—should not color our reading of God’s Word.

Is that what the Bible itself teaches?

Deal of the Day

A Theology for the Church Edited by Daniel Akin $4.99

Book Review

Thomas Kidd. George Whitefield. Reviewed by Ian Clary. (TGC)

Links

David Mathis. Resolve to Be a Lifelong Learner. (DG)

For Christians in particular, the stakes are even higher for cultivating holy curiosity and the mindset of a lifelong learner. Teaching and learning are at the very heart of our faith. To be a “disciple” means to be a “learner.” Our Master is the consummate teacher, and the central task of his undershepherds in the local church is teaching (Titus 1:91 Timothy 3:25:17Hebrews 13:7Matthew 28:20). God designed the church to be a community of lifelong learners under the earthly guidance of leaders who are teachers at heart.

Erik Raymond. The Case for Face to Face Meetings. 

Technological advancements have made communication much easier. We can email, text, instant message, call, or Skype. While this makes meeting easier it does not necessarily make it better. As Christians we should endeavor to be loving in everything we do. This requires thoughtful intentionality when considering the medium for communicating information. Ease must never trump love.

In my experience, particularly in pastoral ministry, the preferred format for meetings is face to face. If there is ever a potential to be misunderstood or if the subject matter is wired with emotion then a face to face meeting is nearly essential. Here are some reasons…

Brandon Smith. 3 Reasons to Plant in Highly-Churched Areas. (Church Leaders)

In 2010, I co-planted a church with a few other men in the Wylie, Texas area outside of Dallas/Fort Worth. For the last two years, I’ve been part of a church that has planted churches in places like downtown Fort Worth. The question is often asked, “Why are you wasting your time planting a church in the Bible Belt?” This question was usually followed up with two common concerns…

Edify

Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“Christ is the scope of the Scriptures.” Richard Sibbes

Why I Repented from Twitter Following Everyone

One sunny day in March I woke up and decided to follow everyone on Twitter. I’d like to think that I had no real reason to do it, but if I’m honest the stunt was stimulated from the base desire of wanting more followers. It was shallow. I wasn’t going to buy them because that’s just crazy. But I thought, maybe if I followed a bunch of people, they’d just follow me back. I justified it by calling the following act a wave. I told myself: “You know what, I’m gonna wave to everyone in Twitterdom and see who waves back.”

Now I didn’t just follow random people or the people that Twitter suggested. I actually did something somewhat methodical. I started going to accounts of people who followed me and people I followed and started following those people. I assumed if they were following my friends, then they might just want to follow me anyway. Then I also went to the accounts of everyone I wrote for and started following the people that followed those organizations. I assumed that these people would surely want to follow a writer that writes for that organization.

Again, I confess that this exploit was fleshly and selfish. It was all about me. I wanted more, and I succeeded. I tried to justify it by telling myself that I work so hard to write well; all I’m doing is helping people find my writing. They can choose whether they keep following. If they don’t like what they see, they can unfollow me. In reality, if the Lord wants people to find my writing, then he will show them the way. He doesn’t need my help to get that work done.

Successful Antics, But Burdened Heart

So, about now, some of you are wondering, how successful was this? You might even be wondering if it would work for you; you might just be tempted to try the same shenanigans.

Well, over the course of 90 days my followers jumped from 750 to over 3500. And this jump did not go unnoticed. One of my friends and peers jokingly texted me and gave me a hard time for becoming a sellout.

Others, observably, saw what happened to my account and employed the same methodology. They went from following a few hundred to flat out following everyone. I’m not sure if that was the competitive edge speaking to them or what. I mean, yeah, if some other guy doubles your following in a matter of weeks, you might just feel a little threatened, maybe.

Something else happened too. My following increased and so did my pride. Along with this came the heavy weight of burden, the burden of guilt. I was promoting myself, and it felt so dirty. Sure, if you’re a writer, there is a certain level of promotion that takes place. So, yeah, I tweet out my fresh posts every day and make sure my writing is accessible. But this, these Twitter antics, were beyond the acceptable level of self-promotion. I had wandered into a dark place of my soul, and I knew it.

So, as Summer drew to a close, so did my following insanity. Just as I woke up one day and decided to follow everyone, I woke up another day and repented, unfollowing everyone. Well, except the people I actually know, or actually need to follow because they influence, mentor, and are admired by me. All in all, I plummeted from following the maximum 2000 to following 350 and with that plummet came a corresponding plummet of my followers. Overall, I’ve dropped roughly 1000 followers since that time. I imagine the number will keep dropping, but I’m cool with that.

Anyway, I learned a handful of things about myself, others, and Twitter in this process. I thought I’d share what I learned from these antics, because who knows, it might help you sort some things out too:

1. Sin is sin regardless of the platform.

I operated from my flesh, and it didn’t matter if it was me talking one-on-one with a friend and being all into myself or it was me trying to generate a following in a digital universe. Anywhere ideas can be communicated, so can sin be committed. Though sin does not require the speech-act, the speech-act enables sin. In my eyes, what I did was wrong. It needed to be undone.

I didn’t have to write this article. I could have shuffled it all to the side. Just like how most of us do with our sin. We conceal it, not wanting others to see it. But perhaps my repentance will help others examine their own approach to using Twitter and compel them to think through their use of it.

Friends, sin is just as real online as it is offline. Virtual reality does not remove sin’s reality. The same penalty is still reaped.

2. People gravitate to crowds.

This is ironic. When I actually developed a big following of over a 1000 people, I noticed an acceleration of people following me. I had the perception of being important, and so people thought that I was.

The reality is no one is really all that important. It doesn’t matter who you are. And if you do the right thing long enough, speaking the truth plain enough, the crowds always disburse. That’s what happened with Jesus; that’s what still happens with his disciples today.

We’re all dust and to dust we will return. There are few people who’s work have lasting impact. When I think about Church History, I can quickly name a couple dozen. And because I have a fond affection for certain time periods I can add a few more dozen from each of those periods. But I’m like the 5% who are actually still interested in those people.

For the most part, our hard work in this life doesn’t last. If it truly exalts God and not ourselves, then it might, and that’s only because God is the one who outlasts, outshines, and outdoes all.

3. People are forgiving.

My friend that gave me a hard time, gave me an equally hard time when I repented. I took that as a sign he forgave me. He’d probably say that the whole thing didn’t matter much to him, but it did. It mattered enough for him to lovingly bust my chops about it.

Likewise, a couple other people noticed that I unfollowed them. They mentioned me and said that it was cool and they understood. Some of these people I ended up following back because I realized they were normal people not using Twitter following as a bargaining chip. They became friends, and we keep interacting.

People in general are forgiving in nature. They appreciate someone who is able to confess when they are wrong or have committed wrong.

I also wonder, if at times, people are too forgiving? If they don’t think some of these things are a bigger deal. In my case, I felt like what I did was a big enough deal for me to share it with you today. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done this. And if my decision to follow everyone and then unfollow people affected you or caused you to sin, then I ask your forgiveness.

4. What matters is what’s in your heart and where your affections lie.

I’m not convinced that following everyone is wrong and only following a few is right. Sometimes I think it can be pretentious and a sign of “cool kid” status to not follow anyone but the other “cool kids.” I consciously try not to do that. I played that silly game in high school all too well. Still, I want to have a substantive connection with those I follow. I’m not just going to follow strangers.

What really matters is what’s in your heart. I followed everyone with the wrong motive. I was trying to win at something. I was shooting for success. I erected an idol. My affection diverted around my twitter success. I know others, watching from afar, saw what I did and felt a little disappointment. Or at least I hope they cared enough to have those feelings. I’m grateful for my one friend who cheekily said something. I sorta wish others had too. I didn’t get a Twitter rebuke or admonishment like I should have. But that’s not much different from the real world, is it? I mean, when was the last time a brother or sister actually confronted your sin? It’s been too long for me. That’s for sure.

5. Trust God to extend his platform.

If you’re truly serving the Lord then you’re extending his platform, not yours. It’s his glory that goes forth, not yours. If he wishes to prosper you, then that is his will. It shouldn’t be your will to prosper yourself.

I think the battle over this truth will continue to wage in my soul. I will have to continually admonish myself: “The Lord adds and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

There are those who follow everyone and there are those who follow no one. Then there are all those who lie between. The whole Twitter following thing is definitely one of those grey areas of the Christian faith. It’s like meat sacrificed to idols. There are those who are strong in faith, who can follow everyone in good conscience. Then there are those whose faith is weak and prone to wander to self-exultation rather than self-forgetfullness. I discovered I’m one of those. I need to follow less, so that he might increase.

View-Worthy: 11.19.14

Preview

Russell Moore’s Vatican Address, Kostenberger on the Bible, Gray Havens, Mirrors.

Headliner

Russell Moore. Man, Woman, and the Mystery of Christ: An Evangelical Protestant Perspective. (TGC)

Poet Wendell Berry responded to the technological utopianism of naturalistic scientism with an observation that I believe frames the entire discussion of what it means to affirm the complementarity of man and woman in marriage. His observation was that any civilization must decide whether it will see persons as machines or as persons. If we are creatures, he argued, then we have meaning and purpose and dignity—but with all of that we have limits. If we see ourselves as machines, then we will believe the Faustian myth of our own limitless power and our ability to reshape even what it means to be human.

Deal of the Day

Four Views on the Historical Adam (Counterpoints: Bible and Theology) $2.99

Book Review

Alister McGrath. Emil Brunner: A Reappraisal. Reviewed by David Gilland. (Ref21)

Links

Andreas Kostenberger. Does the Bible Ever Get It Wrong?

My years as a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School were certainly a very mind-stretching experience. I took classes with D. A. Carson on the use of the OT in the NT, with Doug Moo on the Second Temple period and on the Septuagint, with Grant Osborne on apocalyptic literature, and many more. In these classes, I came to realize that many issues in NT studies are considerably more complex than the average person realizes. In fact, becoming aware of some of these issues can be confusing, even disorienting, and can leave people bewildered, unless they have the necessary scholarly skills and doctrinal grounding with regard to their view of Scripture. Fortunately, such a framework was provided for me at Trinity as the context for discussing the complex issues related to biblical studies and exegesis. John Woodbridge, D. A. Carson, Kenneth Kantzer, and others were all too aware of these larger issues and addressed them with considerable sophistication and nuance, both in the classroom and in various publications. Those of us who were privileged to learn from these scholars were fortunate indeed to have such knowledgeable guides who could help us steer a safe course navigating the troubled scholarly waters and avoid both the Scylla of fundamentalism and the Charybdis of higher critical (if not skeptical) scholarship.

Nick Rynerson. The Gray Havens’ “Where Eyes Don’t Go”. (CaPC)

The Gray Havens are a musical duo from Chicagoland, made up of husband/wife team David and Licia Radford. David Radford might sound familiar for people who watch American Idol because, well, he killed it on American Idol back in 2012––making it all the way to the top 24. Radford’s smooth, jazzy voice compliments smooth instrumentation and songwriting could be best described as “theologically allegorical”.

Jon Bloom. Beware the Mirror. (DG)

Mirrors are very dangerous for proud people.

Remember the story of Narcissus? He’s the proud, beautiful man in the Greek myth who saw his reflection in a pool, fell in love it, couldn’t tear himself away, and it killed him.

All of us sinners are Narcissistic to some degree. But the enchanting power that mirrors have over most of us is different from Narcissus. When we look into a mirror most of us are not captivated by our beauty, we are condemned by our defects.

Edify

John 10:35 “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came — and Scripture cannot be broken –”

“Jesus saw himself as the key to Scripture and it as the key to himself.” J I Packer

Henry Scougal on the Importance and Difficulty of the Ministerial Function

LifeofGodinSoulofManIn Christian Heritage Book’s edition of The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal, a sketch on Scougal’s brief life is given. There you will also find an excerpt from his address given to the Synod of Aberdeen on the Importance and Difficult of the Ministerial Function.

This excerpt from page twenty-nine caught my attention:

You see, sirs, to what a dreadful and important charge you aspire. Consider, I beseech you, what great pains are necessary to fit you for it. It is not a knowledge of controversy, or the gift of eloquence; much less, a strong voice and bold confidence, that will prepare you for it. Your greatest work lies within, in purifying yourselves, and learn that wisdom which is necessary to win souls. Begin, I pray you, and preach to your passions, and try what good you can do to your friends and neighbors. Be not forward in rushing into public; it is better to be drawn than to run

Further down the page he continues:

The best way is to preach the things first to ourselves, and then frequently to recollect in whose presence we are, and whose business we are doing.

Though preaching the gospel to ourselves has seen a resurgence in the past few years, it is truly no new thing. It is a practice that has solid roots in the reformation and post-reformation era.

Pastor, before you can reach the affections of your congregation with the gospel, the gospel must reach into you and your affections first.

 

View-Worthy: 11.18.14

Preview

Struggles of Singles, Evangelical Twitterland, Doubly Offensive Jesus, Church Planting is a Gospel Priority.

Headliner

David Murray. 12 Struggles Singles Face.

When we hear the word “single” we usually think of one kind of single – someone maybe 25-50 who has not married. But there are other kinds of singles: widows, single parents, divorcees, those who suffer with same-sex attraction, and even those who are in loveless marriages – perhaps the most painful singleness of all. But for all singles, there are twelve struggles that must be faced at different stages and to different degrees…

Deal of the Day

Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God by Marty Machowski FREE

Book Review

Grant Wacker. America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation. Reviewed by Collin Hansen (TGC)

Links

Jared Oliphint. How to Succeed in Evangelical Twitterland. (CaPC)

My friend and I were hanging out one morning, having coffee and reading. He mentioned an article that I should read, and I mentioned an excellent quote I found from a dead guy. Then out of the clear blue sky he leans over and says, “If you’re not going to church to hear the word preached then you’re not going to church, but to a social club.”

And I said, “Ok…”

In evangelical Twitterland, content is not king; the appearance of content is.Actually, this was not a live conversation, but an illustration of what is becoming a ubiquitous trend on Twitter: dropping self-authored, pithy proverbs.

Trevin Wax. Give Me the Doubly Offensive Jesus, Please.

The Jesus of the Gospels is offensive because of how inclusive He is.

The Jesus of the Gospels is offensive because of how exclusive He is.

The church is offended by His inclusivity, and the world is offended by His exclusivity.

Jeff Medders. Church Planting Is A Gospel Priority.

The gospel priority of the Church is to plant churches. The Church is the steward of the gospel (1 Thess. 2:41 Tim. 3:15) and it is our task to proclaim it (Col. 1:28) and model it (Gal. 2:14Eph. 4:32). The church of Christ has always been a church-planting church. We know this because we aren’t a solitary mega-church in Jerusalem. Jesus intends to build his Church, more than the church in Jerusalem but the Church, via the vehicle of missional, gospel-driven, Jesus-exalting, church-planting churches. The Great Commission is a church planting call. Acts 1:8 is a command to plant churches to the ends of the earth—and the book of Acts is our proofy pudding.

Edify

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

“As we go to the cradle only in order to find the baby, so we go to the Scriptures only to find Christ.” Martin Luther

Prayer by Timothy Keller

PrayerTimothyKellerBibliography

Timothy Keller. Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. New York: Dutton, 2014. 328 pp. $26.95.

Category

Church and Ministry

Summary

The subject of prayer commands great interest today. Our rationalistic “quiet time” devotional age is coming to a close, and forms of prayer – which follow a Medieval contemplative template – are on the rise. Some are repulsed with the mystical methods of lectio divina; others invite experimentation with these ancient practices.

I would not call this the singular impetus of Timothy Keller’s recent contribution to the dialogue on prayer. Nonetheless, it is an element that led the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and author of nine other books to offer his tenth, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God.

Readers will speedily discover – upon a cursory glance – that Keller employs years of experimental practice and studious reflection to produce this extensive work. Stimulated by the events of 911 and physical afflictions that he, his wife, and other church members experienced during decades of ministry, Keller set to studying and rigorously practicing prayer; this is the fruit from this practice.

Keller thoughtfully dialogues with seminal works on prayer, finding the locus of his study in credible forerunners such as Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Owen. Keller provides evenness while embracing an “intelligent mysticism” of prayer. By this he means that the heart of prayer embodies truth and experience, rationale and emotion. “This heart experience of the gospel’s power can happen only through prayer – both publicly in the gathered Christian assembly and privately in meditation” (15). Thus, Keller introduces Christ followers to a historic practice of blending meditative bible study that leads to robust prayer, articulating the truths of who God is and what God does in the world as revealed through the Scripture – all this to His glory producing our joy.

This five part work from the onset stimulates readers to desire prayer in part one and understand prayer in part two; this is the functional discussion on prayer. Parts three through five is the exposé on the practice of prayer: we learn prayer in part three, deepen our prayer life in part four, and do prayer in part five.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

I’ve read a number of the contemporary classic works on prayer, but rarely did I see how those writer’s interacted with the truly classical works on prayer. Keller confesses, “The best material has been written” (1). What sets Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God apart is how Keller distills the best of the best in one place, dialogues with it, and unpacks the glittering prizes held within for us to war well in the craft of prayer.

The wealthiest material, no doubt, is produced from Keller’s dialogue with John Owen. Chapter after chapter is rife with Owen, but chapter ten’s three steps of meditation is Owen’s most valuable contribution to the dialogue. This chapter instructs us to fix our mind on a scriptural truth, inclining our heart to God, and then enjoy that truth or cry out to God for that truth to be realized (152-164). Keller asserts that this process of meditation is “thinking a truth out and then thinking a truth in until its ideas become “big” and “sweet,” moving and affecting, and until the reality of God is sensed upon the heart” (162).

Keller’s interaction with our Lord’s prayer life is captivating. His smart study of the Lord’s Prayer – what Keller refers to as the prayer of prayers or in another place the alpha prayer – yet again profits from other fine works. Keller says, “The whole world is starving for spiritual experience, and Jesus gives us the means to it in a few words” (109). This prayer of prayers is altogether too familiar to us, but Keller’s fresh presentation of it is delightful, whether it is his exhortation to long for Christ’s kingdom with our whole heart and joy or to see the same social dimension that Luther saw in the words, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

The most piercing moment for me, as I read along, is the meeting of atonement with prayer found in the Garden of Gethsemane. There Keller declares that Christ’s unanswered prayer and humble submission to God’s will is for our benefit. “More specifically, Jesus’ prayers were given the rejection that we sinners merit so that our prayer could have the reception that he merits” (238).

Fringe benefits of Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God include chapter nine’s touchstones of prayer (cf. 141) and the practical guides and methods to integrating your life with prayer (cf. 252-255, 263-266). These two resources help you come to prayer with the right motive and practice prayer with a reasonable routine.

Simply put, just as always with Timothy Keller, you will not close the back cover disappointed. His unswerving commitment to biblically and theologically teeming discourse interacts seamlessly with culture and history to produces a work on prayer that will not soon be surpassed.

Rating

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

Prayer by Timothy Keller inspires readers to pursue awe-filled adoration of God through communion with him in prayer.

View-Worthy 11.17.14

Preview

Porn & Singleness, Millennial Pastors, Complementarianism, Manhood & Resurrection.

Headliner

Gina Dalfonzo. Porn and the Singleness Panic. (CT)

In a society that largely champions sexual expression, including pornography, it is heartening to hear someone acknowledge its detriments. That’s why I was initially glad to see sociologist Mark Regnerus’s recent article in First Things.

Deal of the Day

The Pastor’s Justification by Jared C Wilson $0.99

Book Review

Eric O Jacobsen. The Space Between: A Christian Engagement with the Built Environment. Reviewed by Walter Henegor. (TGC)

Links

Thom Rainer. Five Reasons Why Millennials Do Not Want to Be Pastors or Staff in Established Churches.

Not all Millennials are averse to serving in leadership roles in established churches. But many of them are. And our churches are approaching a tipping point where many are unable to attract Millennial members or leaders. It will likely soon be a crisis.

What is it about established churches that push away Millennials? Let’s examine that question first, and then let’s look at some possible solutions.

Gavin Ortlund. 4 Dangers for Complementarians. (TGC)

I am not ashamed to be complementarian. It has never been a dirty word for me, because I’ve grown up seeing godly expressions of it in my family, and hearing compelling arguments for it from my ministry heroes. More than anything, C. S. Lewis books like Perelandra have shaped my thinking about gender. (For anyone curious, I’ve summed up why I’m complementarian here.)

Nick Batzig. Manhood and Theology: Resurrection. (CBMW)

What do men need for there to be real and lasting change in their lives? What is the secret to real manhood? What does it take for a young man to stop living foolishly, to start thinking maturely and to seek the Lord? What does it take for a husband to start loving his wife, to start speaking tenderly to her and to lead her in the Scriptures and prayer? What does it take for a father to start loving his children, to sacrifice his time for them and to bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord? After all, true manhood is that which is shaped by the biblical idea of wise, loving, and sacrificial spiritual leaders. That means that our deepest need is not merely behavioral—our deepest need is spiritual, something that God must do for us and in us.

Edify

Luke 4:32 “And they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority.”

“The only authoritative word ever published is that which comes from the Holy Scriptures.” A W Tozer

View-Worthy: 11.14.14

Preview

 

Headliner

Peter Chin. No Such Thing As Convenient Christianity. (CT)

A little less than half a year ago, my wife and I picked up our family and moved from Washington, D.C., to Seattle. There are many things that I miss about D.C.: the close proximity to some of the best museums in the country, as well as the incredibly intelligent and ambitious people who populate that city. But what I do not miss about D.C. is the lack of grocery stores.

Deal of the Day

Christianity’s Dangerous Idea by Alister McGrath $2.99

Book Review

Kevin DeYoung. Taking God At His Word. Reviewed by Nate Claiborne.

Links

John Dyer. What Can We Learn About Video Churches from Mars Hill’s Closing.

It’s been a while since I’ve written here, but I did put together a piece about the video satellite model of churches for OnFaith. As I write in the piece, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the model since I want to favor in-the-flesh personal encounters and avoid celebrity preachers and branded models of church.

However, when I actually talked to churches using this model, I found that some of them had actually thought through a lot of the common objections and come up with creative ways to overcome them.

Kevin DeYoung. Not That Kind of Homosexuality?

The Bible has nothing good to say about homosexual practice.

That may sound like a harsh conclusion, but it’s not all that controversial. Even the gay Dutch scholar Pim Pronk has concluded that “wherever homosexual intercourse is mentioned in Scripture, it is condemned. With reference to it the New Testament adds no new arguments to those of the Old. Rejection is a foregone conclusion; the assessment of it nowhere constitutes a problem.”[1] There is simply no positive case to be made from the Bible for homoerotic behavior.

Albert Mohler. Sexual Orientation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I recently addressed a major national conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” held by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. As expected, the conference was one of the most responsible and edifying meetings yet held of Christians concerned about these issues. This is exactly what would be expected of the ERLC and its leadership. The conference was both helpful and historic. I had the honor of delivering the opening keynote address entitled “Aftermath: Ministering in a Post-Marriage Culture.” The full text of my address will be posted here shortly. Subsequent to the conference, it became clear that the vast coverage of the conference in the national press raised some issues that need to be considered further.

Edify

Luke 24:45 “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

“The ordinary Christian with the Bible in his hand can say that the majority is wrong.” Francis Schaeffer